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The same thing over and over: how school reformers get stuck in yesterday's ideas

By: Hess, Frederick M.
Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts Harvard University Press 2010Description: xiv, 286 p.ISBN: 9780674055827.Subject(s): School improvement programs - United States | Educational change - United States | Public schools - United States | Education - Aims and objectives - United States | Education - United States - EvaluationDDC classification: 371.2070973 Summary: In this genial and challenging overview of endless debates over school reform, Rick Hess shows that even bitter opponents in debates about how to improve schools agree on much more than they realize—and that much of it must change radically. Cutting through the tangled thickets of right- and left-wing dogma, he clears the ground for transformation of the American school system. Whatever they think of school vouchers or charter schools, teacher merit pay or bilingual education, most educators and advocates take many other things for granted. The one-teacher–one-classroom model. The professional full-time teacher. Students grouped in age-defined grades. The nine-month calendar. Top-down local district control. All were innovative and exciting—in the nineteenth century. As Hess shows, the system hasn’t changed since most Americans lived on farms and in villages, since school taught you to read, write, and do arithmetic, and since only an elite went to high school, let alone college. Arguing that a fundamentally nineteenth century system can’t be right for a twenty-first century world, Hess suggests that uniformity gets in the way of quality, and urges us to create a much wider variety of schools, to meet a greater range of needs for different kinds of talents, needed by a vastly more complex and demanding society. (http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674055827)
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Books Vikram Sarabhai Library
Slot 1226 (0 Floor, East Wing) Non-fiction 371.2070973 H3S2 (Browse shelf) Available 190411

Table of contents:

1. Ideas equal to our ambitions
2. The American education tradition
3. The long view
4. The common schoolers and the push for uniformity
5. The progressives and the quest for universality
6. Teachers and teaching
7. Some reassembly required
8. Finding a new path


In this genial and challenging overview of endless debates over school reform, Rick Hess shows that even bitter opponents in debates about how to improve schools agree on much more than they realize—and that much of it must change radically. Cutting through the tangled thickets of right- and left-wing dogma, he clears the ground for transformation of the American school system.

Whatever they think of school vouchers or charter schools, teacher merit pay or bilingual education, most educators and advocates take many other things for granted. The one-teacher–one-classroom model. The professional full-time teacher. Students grouped in age-defined grades. The nine-month calendar. Top-down local district control. All were innovative and exciting—in the nineteenth century. As Hess shows, the system hasn’t changed since most Americans lived on farms and in villages, since school taught you to read, write, and do arithmetic, and since only an elite went to high school, let alone college.

Arguing that a fundamentally nineteenth century system can’t be right for a twenty-first century world, Hess suggests that uniformity gets in the way of quality, and urges us to create a much wider variety of schools, to meet a greater range of needs for different kinds of talents, needed by a vastly more complex and demanding society.

(http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674055827)

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